Introducing the Winners of the 2015 BALA Awards

By Susan Bady, Senior Contributing Editor | January 15, 2016

Lotus on Orange

Lotus on Orange reflects the clients’ love of European modern and California-style modern architecture. Large expanses of glass suffuse the interior with daylight, while sliding glass doors and casement windows allow for passive ventilation.

Project Name: Lotus on Orange
Location: Sarasota, Fla.
Platinum Award for Best Green Single-Family Home
Best in South Atlantic Region
Designer/Architect: Leader Design Studio, Sarasota
Builder: Josh Wynne Construction, Sarasota
Interior Designer: SAWA Design, Sarasota
Photographer: Gamma Photography

The home’s entry court features a lotus and koi pond, offering a serene welcome area, complete with white noise to drown out sounds from the street

This custom home is located in a historical area of Sarasota known as Bungalow Heights. The site was previously occupied by a neglected ranch home with no architectural value. That home was demolished and the majority of the building materials diverted to a recycling facility. 

Thus Lotus on Orange was born, designed with the clients’ love of European Modern styling in mind as well as their love of the warmth of California-style modern homes. Large expanses of carefully placed glass provide daylighting throughout the home, while large sliding glass doors and casement windows allow for passive ventilation. The roof-integrated screen enclosure is reminiscent of earlier efforts by architects during the Sarasota School movement. 

An open dining/living area flanks the pool court. Smooth white walls are balanced by cypress wood details, terrazzo tile, and bamboo panels

Views are centered on the natural lotus pond in the front court as well as the pool and outdoor living areas to the rear. The material palette is warm, simple, and punctuated by clean lines and strong geometry. Polished concrete floors were chosen for their durability, thermal massing effect, and natural beauty. Cypress wood detailing, terrazzo tile, and bamboo panels counterbalance the smooth white interior walls, which reflect light and provide a framework for viewing the outdoor spaces. 

Three courtyards are the critical adjuncts between the vertical architecture and the landscape architecture. The entry court welcomes visitors arriving from the street with a koi and lotus pond. A fountain provides a visible anchor and produces white noise to block out the sounds of city life. Every visit starts with a walk across the floating lily pads in the pond. 

The rear court is the heart of the home. The L-shaped design lives around and is open to this pool court with its outdoor fireplace and kitchen area. The last courtyard is the most private, flanked by the master suite and accessible only through the master bath. Glass walls, orchid walls, and a thick tropical color garden complete the space.

A view through the master bath reveals the private courtyard spaces included in the home's L-shaped design 

Details like this wall-hung vanity show the homeowners’ taste for sleek design with a warm touch

The Florida-friendly landscape was carefully considered to provide the screening necessary for the infill lot while being sensitive to the single-story scale of the home and the adjacent neighbors. Lotus on Orange is LEED Platinum-certified, FGBC Platinum-certified, and is a certified Net Zero Energy Home by Energy Star under the v.3.1 standard, with a HERS of -7.

Vermillion at Escena

With its gabled roof and strong geometric lines, Vermillion at Escena is faithful to the tenets of mid-century modern architecture 

Project Name: Vermillion at Escena
Location: Palm Springs, Calif.
Platinum Award for Best Single-Family Detached Home
Up to 2,000 Square Feet
Designer/Architect: Bassenian Lagoni Architects, Newport Beach, Calif.
Builder: Beazer Homes, Brea, Calif.
Interior Designer: Triomphe Design, Costa Mesa, Calif.
Photographer: AG Photography

Sliding glass doors bring abundant natural light into the great room and connect the home to outdoor spaces and views.

Palm Springs homebuyers value the unique architectural character of their desert oasis, and they demand that a new-home community honor the town’s design heritage. Creating houses that interpret the mid-century modern vernacular in a way that adapts to production requires finesse from the architect and great execution from the builder, not to mention the approval of the city and buy-in from a highly vocal and knowledgeable citizenry.

Interiors recall Palm Springs' design heritage, with updated finishes

To deliver the required authenticity, Vermillion at Escena stayed true to these must-have design details of mid-century modern homes:

•    Flat planes: The geometric lines of the house are regular and rigorous, with a gabled roof that’s common to modern ranch-style houses.
•    Large windows: Sliding glass doors and other expansive panes of glass allow light to enter rooms from multiple angles.
•    Changes in elevation: Small steps between rooms create split-level spaces. A mid-century modern home may have partial walls or cabinets of varying heights to create different depths in the space.
•    Integration with nature: Rooms have multiple outdoor views or multiple access points, encouraging an appreciation of healthy living.

Four plans are offered at Vermillion, ranging from 1,972 to 2,318 square feet.

Plan One at Apex at Civita

Plan One at Apex at Civita offers 2,091 square feet in a three-story detached home. The design was inspired by Irving Gill’s Modern Spanish architecture.

Project Name: Apex at Civita, Plan One
Location: San Diego
Platinum Award for Best Single-Family Detached Home, 2,001 to 2,500 Square Feet
Designer/Architect: Woodley Architectural Group, Littleton, Colo.
Builder: Ryland Homes, Irvine, Calif.
Interior Designer: Rooms Interiors, Corona del Mar, Calif.
Developer: Sudberry Properties, San Diego
​Photographer: Aron Photography

Setting corner windows in a hallway circulation path adds natural light to compact home on a tight lot

Amping up the challenge of creating dynamic detached product for today’s buyers, the Apex at Civita site required a density of 14.8 DUA including driveways and rear yards, while providing more than 2,000 square feet of indoor living space. 

Plan One at Apex at Civita showcases innovative solutions to the unique challenges of high-density detached housing. Part of a neighborhood of homes that interlock with side and rear “zero” walls, Plan One is framed by a private outdoor space. Upon entry, the 2,091-square-foot home expands into a dramatic three-story space. Corner glass illuminates the stairway and brings light to the interiors.

A flex space on the lower level can serve as a private bedroom suite, office, media room, or exercise room. The open floor plan on the main level encompasses the kitchen and great room and gives the home an expansive feel. At the front, a covered balcony extends this interior space over the tuck-under garage and driveway below. The master suite, second bedroom, second bath, and office are on the third floor. 

The homes convey a sense of spaciousness within compact plans

The exterior elevation reflects the regional architecture of San Diego; it’s inspired by Irving Gill’s Modern Spanish designs. Gill’s mature work was marked by spare designs and ingenious technical details, as well as a penchant for light and a desire to bring nature inside. Apex at Civita is a nod to the man who is regarded as San Diego’s most prominent and innovative architect.

Garden House at Rose Lane, Plan 6
Plan 6 at Garden House at Rose Lane presents a traditional Craftsman elevation with stained cedar shingles and detailed woodwork with stone accents.

Project Name: Garden House at Rose Lane, Plan 6
Location: Larkspur, Calif. 
Platinum Award for Best Single-Family Detached Home, 2,501 to 3,000 Square Feet
Designer/Architect/Land Planner: Dahlin Group Architecture, Pleasanton, Calif.
Builder/Developer: The New Home Co., Aliso Viejo, Calif.
Interior Designer: Meridian Interiors, Irvine, Calif.
Photographer: Christopher Mayer

The home wraps around a central courtyard that provides many options for entertaining or just relaxing in a private setting.

Garden House at Rose Lane is the market-rate portion of an 85-unit, integrated community that includes age-restricted luxury flats as well as cottages. A variety of well-executed styles, including Craftsman, Spanish, Traditional, and English, were designed for these single-family homes. 

To bridge the gap between builder-friendly construction and the custom-level expectations of the city of Larkspur, Calif., a mix of single-story and two-story homes were designed. Small homes were mixed with larger homes on larger lots to create a community with a custom feel.

Plan 6 has a dining room open to an informal family room. Both spaces benefit from their adjacency to the courtyard.

Courtyard living is what Plan 6 is all about. The 2,738-square-foot home has a formal living room and a separate, casual dining room that create wonderful entertaining opportunities by opening up to a central courtyard. Toward the rear of the home, a casual family room leads to a grand kitchen with generously sized windows and doors that face the backyard and courtyard. Upstairs, the master bedroom provides views to the creek corridor on one side and the courtyard on the other. 

Molding and windows with scale and substance help a production home take on a custom vibe.

The traditional Craftsman elevation incorporates stained cedar shingles and detailed woodwork with stone accents.

Marbella at Hidden Canyon, Cassis 

Marbella at Hidden Canyon's Cassis model appeals to discriminating buyers who wish to make a statement.  A courtyard and covered entry lead to a dramatic two-story foyer that offers a view through to the great room and dining room.​

Project Name: Marbella Collection at Hidden Canyon—Cassis plan 
Location: Irvine, Calif.
Platinum Award for Best Single-Family Detached Home, Over 4,000 Square Feet, ​Best in Pacific Region
Bassenian Lagoni Architects, Newport Beach, Calif.
Builder: Toll Brothers, Orange, Calif.
Interior Designer: CDC Designs, Costa Mesa, Calif.
Developer: The Irvine Co., Irvine
Photographer: Christopher Mayer

Located just off the breakfast nook is the California Room, which is available with an outdoor kitchen, sitting area, and fireplace.

The Cassis plan offers a one-of-a-kind lifestyle and unparalleled luxury throughout, with all the excitement, understated elegance, and detail demanded by a very affluent, discriminating buyer. Features that appeal to this select demographic include well-articulated, classical exterior architecture with rich materials and well-planned, well-executed design details. 

The kitchen has dual islands and a walk-in pantry, and is open to the dining room and great room. An adjacent garage bay can be converted to an optional prep kitchen.

A dramatic double-door entry leads to a two-story foyer, creating a lasting first impression. Other highlights include an exterior front courtyard; an expansive great room with a fireplace and adjoining dining room; a private office; a well-appointed kitchen with two center islands and a nook; a spacious bonus room offering versatile living space and access to a covered balcony; and a convenient second-floor laundry room.

The California Room leads outside to a recessed patio with banquette seating and a raised swimming pool. The dining table has a foundation with a central trough that directs water into a basin at one end. 

Statement spaces such as the great room are open to outdoor areas and are brought to life by water features and a covered retreat surrounded by water. The 20-by-18-foot master bedroom includes a huge walk-in closet, a large and lavish bath, and a private sitting area.

The Grand Monarch

The Grand Monarch resembles an Italianate mansion but is actually a collection of ultra-luxurious townhomes on the shores of Monarch Beach. 

Project Name: The Grand Monarch
Location: Dana Point, Calif.
Platinum Award for Attached Homes, Townhouses Built for Sale
Designer/Architect: Bassenian Lagoni Architects, Newport Beach, Calif.
Builder: William Lyon Homes, Irvine, Calif.
Interior Designer: Meridian Interiors, Irvine
Developer: The Irvine Co., Irvine
Photographer: Christopher Mayer

Covered second-floor decks span the width of each home and have plenty of room for an outdoor kitchen and dining and seating areas. 

A one-of-a-kind location that hugs the shoreline of California’s Monarch Beach requires a community that makes the amenity—the view—accessible to all residents. Floor plans at the Grand Monarch, a building with 37 duplex and triplex resort-style residences, forever raise the bar on townhome living. 

Dramatic interiors hold their own while highlighting the pacific coastline.

At first glance, the building resembles an Italianate mansion, but inside is a luxury townhome environment reserved for the very few. Included are private exterior living spaces for basking in the beauty of Monarch Beach and the sublime weather of Dana Point; luxuriously appointed interiors with all spaces oriented to the outdoors; individual elevators for easy movement between floors; and careful plotting of buildings to maximize views.

Even the master bath is oriented to the outdoors: While showering or soaking in the tub, homeowners can enjoy sunsets over the ocean. 

Life at the Grand Monarch comes with another desirable amenity: Home­owners have access to the adjacent St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort and its many services. 

Oxford Mills

Apartments feature exposed brick and ductwork; 14-foot ceilings with restored timber trusses; and restored, original hardwood floors.

Project Name: Oxford Mills
​Location: Philadelphia
Platinum Award for Best Historic Preservation/Restoration, Best in North Atlantic Region
Designer/Architect/Remodeler/Interior Designer: BartonPartners, Norristown, Pa.
Developer/Interior Merchandiser: D3 Real Estate Development, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.
Land Planner: Cornerstone Consulting Engineers, Landsdale, Pa.
Photographer: Imagic

The interior courtyard at Oxford Mills serves as a gathering space for residents and employees.

The mission of this project was to create a vibrant, synergistic, education-based community of teacher housing and nonprofit organizations. Two dilapidated warehouses were converted into 114 market-rate quality apartments that are offered to educators at discounted rates. The project includes 35,000 square feet of commercial space for more than 10 different nonprofit organizations, with small office spaces for local start-ups. 

A wide variety of units were designed including studios with expansive windows; one-bedroom units with lofts between exposed trusses; and comfortable two-bedroom units with great views. All units have exposed, beautifully restored timber framing and brick.

The Pinehills

Cottages are among the various types of homes being built at The Pinehills. Eight neighborhoods are within walking distance of the Village Green.

Project Name: The Pinehills
Location: Plymouth, Mass.
Community of the Year
Platinum Award for Best Mixed-Use Community
Designers/Architects: Various
Builders: Various
Interior Designers: Various
Developer/Land Planner: Pinehills LLC, Plymouth, Mass.
Photographers: Various

The Pinehills is one of the nation’s most celebrated examples of thoughtful community planning and design. Underlying it all is a commitment to quality and environmental stewardship that acknowledges what a gift it is to live in the world’s third largest pine ecosystem. By holding true to the village’s original vision—a robust sense of community, active open space, and intimate neighborhoods—The Pinehills just keeps getting better.

The mixed-use community is densely designed while still preserving significant open space. It includes 1.3 million square feet of mixed-use commercial space and 3,065 homes, all of which occupy just 30 percent of the land; more than 2,200 acres of open space is preserved. Eleven builders are building homes ranging from condominiums, apartments, and 55-plus residences to custom homes, townhomes, and cottages. 

Demand for walkable places is not isolated to urban settings; at The Pinehills, eight neighborhoods and 750-plus residences are within walking distance of the Village Green. 







PB-BALA Best in American Living Awards